Ivory Coast Table of Contents
Figure 15. Officer Uniforms, Ranks, and Insignia, 1988
Figure 16. Enlisted Ranks and Insignia, 1988
According to the Constitution, the burden of national defense is shared by all citizens of Côte d'Ivoire. As of June 1961, military service for all male citizens was required by law. Although nominally compulsory, military service in fact was not universal. The small size of the armed forces and the large number of volunteers made conscription virtually unnecessary. In general, conscription seemed to have been reserved for a handful of troublesome students and striking workers.
In the late 1980s, Côte d'Ivoire's population included at least 2.5 million males aged fifteen to forty-nine, of whom about 1.3 million were believed to be fit for military service. Active service varied from one to two years and normally included both military and civic training. Active service also could be spent in National Service work or working for state enterprises. The period for reserve service was twenty-three years. In general, all Ivoirian citizens could be required to perform certain duties in the national interest under the rubric of military service. The National Service was designed particularly with this purpose in mind, and it was primarily to this organization that young women were called to serve.
The pay, living conditions, and benefits available in the armed forces were relatively attractive and compared favorably with alternative employment opportunities; however, they were not lavish. The government attempted to strike a prudent balance by providing institutional support and emoluments sufficient to sustain satisfaction and loyalty without transforming the military into an unduly privileged elite. Nonetheless, some senior officers unethically profited from their temporary assignments to state enterprises, although corruption was not as widespread as in many other African countries. To some extent, military and security personnel were exempt from "salary alignments" and the impact of austerity measures introduced in the early 1980s.
Officers were recruited through the Military Academy (Ecole des Forces Armées--EFA) at Bouaké or by promotion from the ranks of noncommissioned officers (NCOs). Career NCOs were recruited from among those who had at least five years' active service. Promotions for officers were almost exclusively by merit selection. Officers were generally retired when they attained the age limit for their grade. The highest rank in the navy was admiral; in FANCI and FACI, it was general (see fig. 15). All military personnel were subject to obligations, regulations, and disciplinary rules prescribed by government decree. Career military personnel were prohibited from striking or joining trade unions; were obliged to serve both day and night; and were required to obtain authorization to marry, travel outside their garrisons, express their opinions publicly, or join outside associations.
Military justice was enforced by both administrative and judicial means, depending on the severity of the offense. The military courts had jurisdiction over members of the armed forces who were accused of crimes unrelated to any other offenses within the jurisdiction of any other court, crimes committed while carrying out military duties or while conducting operations to maintain peace and public order, or crimes committed inside the military establishment or against the security of the state. Unlike the civil and criminal court system, the military justice system had no court of appeals. The Supreme Court occasionally has been asked to review and set aside a military tribunal's verdict and to order a retrial (see Judicial System , ch. 4).
Data as of November 1988